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Bangladesh garment units in need of a revamp

The Bangladesh garment industry faces a lot of challenges. At one time cheap labor force was one of the main factors behind the growth of the garment industry in Bangladesh. But now it’s no longer possible to depend on cheap and unskilled labor.  Entrepreneurs have to invest in developing a skilled work force.

Also garment manufacturing used to be given to sub-contractors. But it is no longer possible to manufacture garments under the sub-contracting system as international retailers are wary of placing orders under this arrangement. Sub-contractors have a reputation for running non compliant factories and exploiting the cheap labor force in contrast to entrepreneurs who invest in ensuring the safety of workers.

Determining and giving minimum wages by considering the cost of living is the main challenge for the sector. Although the minimum wage for garment workers was fixed last year, it is still below the standard of living.

Many garment owners have yet to pay employees their arrears. Owners in turn say that violent trade unionists in collusion with hired thugs disrupt functioning. Owners who want to relocate their factories want the government to provide infrastructural support. They also say the government should do a census on the garment sector.